DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters associated with Bones or the series written by Kathy Reichs. Fox Television Network, Kathy Reichs and others do. No infringement is intended as I'm just mucking about for entertainment and a bit of recreational fun.
SPOILERS: Most of Season 3 and some of Season 4, if you haven't seen it, then well, you're going to be surprised at how the season ended right before the writers' strike.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Lion in the Squint
By Whedonist


Chapter 5 – No Pain No Gain

I stretch my neck and hear a succession of popping noises. Groaning, I swivel back to the computer terminal and swear to myself that I will never fall asleep on Tempe's office couch again. A small grin ghost's my features as I remember how I woke up this morning.

Last night Tempe and I stayed late going through things in the vault, comparing things side by side trying to figure out the mystery person we now know exists. Both of us passed out on her couch and this morning, despite the awkward position of my neck and the subsequent pain, I found myself wrapped up in her arms.


It was sweet, but there were these alarm bells going off in my head. It wasn't right. I'm with Jack. I don't cheat. I can't let myself fall for my best friend. There's a world of cliché's there along with heart ache.

Just ask Roxie.

But it was still nice. That thought persists.

I also haven't had the chance to follow up on the talk Tempe and I had four days ago. All of us have been focused on Zack and getting him out of the mess he's got himself into. Caroline's doing what she can to arrange his release or arrange bail or...whatever, just get him back with us, his friends, but the process is slow.  He signed the confession, he agreed to the plea.  Now he's recanting and even in light of the new evidence, the judge wants someone to hang for these crimes.

I run a hand through my hair and pull at a few of the tangles, wincing as some hair gets caught on one of my rings. I turn my attention back to the terminal and start combing through Arthur Graves personal information. There has to be something that all of us are missing. We all feel that the connection lies with him. It was his apprentice or at least that's what we think.

It's what I think and since I got us all started on this thing…

The words on the screen blur and Tempe's hope-filled eyes drift in front of me. I shake it off and refocus. I need to be sharp. I need to be undistracted and I don't need to be thinking about her beautiful, baby blue eyes.

My head falls into my upturned palm and I rest my head as I start reading again. I think I really need to talk to Sweets. He'll give me some answers.

"Ang," Jack's voice cuts through my haze.

I blink and look up at his frame filling the doorway to my office.

I smile and offer, "Hey you."

He doesn't return my smile, but comes into the room arms crossed and posture stiff.

Uh. Oh.

"Do you have minute?" he asks, standing over my computer screens.

"Uh, yeah, sure," I say and stand, motioning towards my couch. I take a seat and watch him do the same from the corner of my eye, he's tense and the sinking feeling in my stomach tells me I'm not going to like where this conversation is going to go.

We both sit there and I wait.

And wait.

Sighing, I say, "What did you want to talk about?"

His mouth pinches before he starts, "I…there." He sighs and runs a frustrated hand through his hair. "I like to think that I'm pretty smart. I also want to say that I'm not the jealous type. Paranoid? Yes. But not jealous and not possessive, but…" He trails off and turns to me finally. I see the uncertainty and pain in his sapphire eyes. "Last night, you told me you were too tired to come over. Fine. I'm good with that. Yet, I come in this morning and see Doctor Brennan's office light on. I go in and see you two passed out on her couch."

He looks a little green, the nauseous kind and a little of the jealous kind. "I know I'm not your keeper. I don't want to be, but the way you two were laying…," his voice cracks and he says, "Is there something going on that I should know about?"

I want to be angry, but I don't have it in me. He's right. I did lie to him and I can try to lie my way out of this, but that's not my style…or at least it didn't used to be.

He also deserves better.

I look at the floor and steel myself before answering his question, "What would you say if I said I didn't know?"

His jaw clenches before he answers, "Well –" he falters, "I…" His eyes drop to his lap and he shakes his head. "I don't know. I can't answer that. Not right now." And as quickly as he appeared in my doorway, he rights himself and practically runs from my office.

I slump back on my couch and bite my cheek, determined to not let the tears fall.

I need to talk to Tempe that much is obvious.

I shake my head and glance at my watch. Maybe she's around and we can go somewhere private to talk.

I sigh and stand.

No time like the present.

I poke my head in and look around Temperance's office. On the couch, she sits with three or four files open in front of her. Booth is pacing the length of her office tossing a ball in the air. "Hey," I say by way of introduction.

Booth looks to the door and misses the ball as it falls through his fingers, making a solid thud on the carpeted floor. I smirk and he blushes.

"Hi Ang," Tempe says.

"Angela!" Booth nearly shouts, over compensating for being snuck up on.

"Anything?" I ask.

They both shake their heads and I move into the office to take a seat on the arm of the couch.

"Well, in the name of saving the rest of our minds, you want to grab lunch?" I smile and Tempe gives me a look.

"Sure," she says.

"I can't," Booth joins the conversation and checks his watch. "I need to meet with Caroline and give her a status update then talk to her about getting Zack released either into someone's custody or alone." He smiles at us and his eyes twinkle. "It looks like there may be some hope. I'm pushing for protective custody."

We both nod and Tempe says, "Thanks, Booth."

"Hey," he says, resting a hand on her shoulder, "He's one of us. We need to protect him like he's been protecting us." Offering nothing more, he walks out of the office shooting a good bye to Cam.

"Hey," Cam says poking her head in the office. "Ang, have you talked to Hodgins today?"

Both she and Tempe look at me funny as I feel the heat rise in my cheeks. I nod.

"So," she says, folding her arms across her chest stepping into the office, "Do you know why he cut out and didn't bother telling me?"

I nod, but offer nothing more.

She sucks her teeth and nods. "Alright," she sighs. "When you feel like telling me, please do so."

I watch her leave and feel Tempe's hand rest on my thigh. "Ang?" she asks softly.

"Come on. Lunch." I say. I stand and reach for her hand, leading her out of her office and out of the Jeffersonian. I turn towards Wong Foo's then stop. I need to go to some place more private. We go left instead of right and I see the café that I stop at in the morning. This will work.

"Ang," Tempe pleas behind me. "Stop."

My steps falter and I look back. She looks worried and trying to squash her fears, I offer her a smile. "Sorry," I say sheepishly. "It's just…we need to talk."

She nods and holds the door to the café open for me. I duck inside and while she grabs a table I place our orders. Getting to our table, I slouch in my seat and try to figure out what exactly to say. What is there to say?

Do I just come right out and say what I've been thinking? What I've been feeling?

Would that ruin everything?

"I missed you this morning," Tempe says first.

I look up at her shocked and know my mouth dropped open a little.

Her eyes dart to the table top, but she looks back up at me through her bangs. "I just thought you should know. It felt weird not waking up with you there when I know we fell asleep together."

I nod. Right.

Direct it is.

"Tempe, what's going on?"

I watch her pick at a napkin. Maybe she doesn't know. Would be a first I'm sure.

Her brow furrows and she says, "We never finished our conversation from Sunday."

"I know." I nod. "We need to. It's…Jack came into your office before either of us woke up and saw us."

"Why would that…"she stops.

"If you were him, wouldn't you be?" I ask, folding my arms as I lean back in my chair.

"No," she states, shaking her head. "You know my stance on monogamy. It's impractical and we're not a monogamous species by nature."

I smirk. "Yeah, well there's more than enough people out there that want to argue for it."

"It's illogical. If we were a monogamous species we would mate with one person and one person only. How many people have you been with? How many people on average is the common person with in their life time," she rattles off all of this as if it should be common sense, that people should just see it and recognize her logic.

Maybe she's right, but… "Maybe you're right, Tempe, but it still isn't how we're brought up." I try to get her to laugh and say, "You aren't going to win the Nature versus Nurture argument on a sex based platform."

"No, but…" she trails off and shakes her head. "You wanted to talk. So, talk?"

I swallow. Well, time to bite the bullet. "I'm not sure. I'm confused." I look up at her and see the uncertainty in her eyes. Looks like I'm not the only one. "Look, since you're…What do you think is happening between us?"

A look of shock crosses her face for the briefest of moments before she sobers and answers evenly, "I think that both of us are recognizing a mutual attraction to the other. Why now is anyone's guess? I think it's something to do with you inserting yourself more into my life." She drops the shredded napkin and finishes, "I wasn't joking Sunday. If I ignore my identification as heterosexual, I can honestly say that I've always found you physically attractive, but pursuing anything sexual seemed…unwise."

I want to roll my eyes, but don't. "So my saying that I'm attracted to you wouldn't weird you out?"

"No, I'm not unappealing to look at. I don't know your type when it comes to the female sex. I do know you're attracted to women. I also know and have known that you're attracted to me." I raise an eyebrow in question. She smirks a little and says, "Your physiological responses have indicated it for some time. I just didn't know how or what to say in response."

"What changed?" I need to ask.

Her lips purse and she shrugs. "I think my need to have something more to attach to. Besides my work."

I nod. "So us getting together is…?"

"Not a completely unlikely scenario, but it depends on two factors," she stops when our food arrives and one of the baristas sets the tray down.

We take the food off of the tray and I take a sip of my smoothie. "Are you going to finish that thought?" I ask finally.

She nods and finishes the bite of sandwich. "Jack for one. Ang, he loves you…when we were buried, the guy's, what's the saying, uh, heels. It has something to do with heels?"

"Head over heels?" I venture.

She smiles and says, "That's it. That's the biggest for me. If you're happy with him, why would I interfere?" I shrug and her hand covers mine. "Are you?"

"Sweetie, how can I answer that? I am, but…it's like I feel that it's…I can't Tempe. I can't talk to you before I talk to him."

"Angela, I…sorry." She smiles and I accept. It's not her fault.


"Your feelings about me are my second. I don't know what they are. Sexual only? Something else?"

My head swims and I swear I've gotten dumped into some alternate universe. This is just insane. I'm having this conversation and I'm actually considering pursuing something with Tempe.

"I'm not sure what I want," I answer honestly.

She swallows another bite of her food and says, "That's fair, Ang. It's not like I'm looking for commitment." She studies me for a moment longer than says, "Look if it makes it easier, I don't mind open relationships. I think that if anything can work I want to explore my attraction to you. We can see other people. Maybe make things easier on Jack."

I laugh a little and can only smile. I mean who else would do this? Who else would be as direct about what they want or what their looking for then my Temperance. "I need to think about this," is all I say.

"Good," she says her face brightening a little. "Now, did you find anything else out about Arthur Graves?"

She turns the conversation back to business so quickly that I get whiplash. I'm going to need to work on her ability to segue a topic change better.

God, I'm really going to hate this. I study the name plate: Dr. Lance Sweets

Sucking it up, I knock and hear him tell me to come in. I square my shoulders and push the door open.

"Hi, Sweets," I say smiling even though I think it's the last thing I feel like doing.

"Hi Angela," he says and stands from behind his desk. He comes around and offers me a seat on one of the three chairs in his office.

"Thanks for seeing me," I say taking the spot on the left. "I mean I know that you're with the F.B.I., but I could use some help."

"What's the matter?" he asks, leaning forward in his chair.

"I'm not really sure where to start," I admit.

"Try the beginning." He smiles at me and I roll my eyes.

"It's not that easy. I mean Temperance is great and I've always been attracted to her, but there's Jack and I love Jack. He's a sweet guy with a good heart. And he loves me."

"Wait, what?" I hear him ask.

"I mean I've always thought Tempe was beautiful. She is too. It's just that ever since, well, Booth really. Since we all thought Booth was dead, I've just…" I fidget with my hands and wish I had a drink. A good stiff drink would do me wonders right now. "You know when you feel like a person needs you there. Then you're there and things begin to slowly shift. Well they've shifted and being around her just makes it more…it makes it all bearable."

"What?" Sweets asks and I look up at him.

"Well, with the job. I've had problems with it. All the death and the gore. I'm an artist, but I mean having her around has made it more than about death and gore, even though that's a big part of it. I feel like I'm doing something more than just making pretty pictures and expressing myself. She makes me want to do and be more. Which is totally weird 'cause I'm not really cut out for this, but she is and she makes me want to be." I suck in a breath and launch myself out of the chair to pace the length of the windows.

"Then when Booth was "dead"," I air quote "dead" and carry on, "I knew she needed someone there, even if she said she didn't. Then there was Zack and it really hit me. I need to be there for her. In whatever way I can be. Then the first morning I woke and she was holding me, it felt different than any other time I've woken up in someone's arms. It felt nice. I didn't feel trapped."


"Well she was just so sweet and she looked so restful. She was beautiful. She is. I just don't know what to do about Jack." I run a hand through my hair and snort. "Do you know what Tempe told me?" I don't wait on an answer as I say, "She said that she would be willing to have an open relationship to explore her attraction to me"


"I mean in a weird way, that's really sweet of her. I just…Jack…" Finally I deflate and slump back in the chair.

I look over at Sweets and wait on some sage advice, but when I see him, his mouth is agape, his finger's in the air and he's a little red.

He looks at me a moment longer and drops his hand. "Okay," he finally manages, "Let me get this right; you and Doctor Brennan are discussing the possibility of a relationship? An open relationship? And you are conflicted because of your relationship with Doctor Hodgins?"

I nod through all of his questions and he slumps back in his chair. I watch through my fingers as he mops his face with his hands.

"Agent Booth?" he asks pained.

"What about Booth?" I ask. He has nothing to do with this.

"Well, it's just that…"

Ah…yeah me too buddy. When I first met them.

"Booth's in love with her and you think she's in love with him?" I venture. He nods. I roll my eyes. "Just because there's chemistry there doesn't mean either of them will act on it. Besides," I scoff, "picture what their relationship would be like six months down the road."

He bites his bottom lip and shakes his head, not seeing it.

"Temperance is all logic and reason. She doesn't let her heart factor into her decisions consciously. Booth leads with his heart. He also feels insecure and a little inferior to Doctor Brennan. Combine that with his deep religious belief and Tempe's staunch Atheism and not even the most crackling chemistry is going to keep a couple like that together." I smirk as his face falls a little and I add, "I'm not opposed to them screwing each other's brains out to get it out of their system and them getting over it, but we both know Booth never would be."

I smirk a little more as I see the emotions pass over his face. "And ya know it's not like I wouldn't be opposed to do the same with Tempe, but…" I halt myself as the realization hits. Whispering, I admit, "I want more."

"And look, there it is. See, Sweets, I knew you could help!" I stand up and lean over to kiss him on the cheek before running out of his office.

I need to talk to Jack first


Chapter 6 – Ring of Fire

I step out of Tempe's car and fume, "I still don't see why Booth thinks we need to be placed under protective detail."

Tempe rolls her eyes at me and remotes her car locked. "Between Zack and the continued threat and as much as it can be a hindrance, I think it's the best choice."

I roll my eyes at her and fume silently. It's been a bitch of a week. Between Jack and Tempe and Zack, I'm really at my wits end. Now with Booth wanting to protect "his people" we've all got our own mini goon squad.

Then yesterday, I had another talk with Jack, well he actually came to me before I had a chance to talk to him and he makes it almost impossible. I mean he just comes in and says how he wants me to be happy and if he needs to he'll step aside.

It was awful. 'Cause he makes you feel bad for emotions that were just naturally occurring. I didn't actively seek out Temperance and this "not" relationship that's forming. So we talked. I told him what Tempe said.

I'm not sure why I mentioned it to him. Maybe to see his reaction, maybe to see what I would say after he responded. I didn't know what I was going to say after I threw him that curveball, but he, in true Jack fashion, took it on the chin, kissed me on the cheek and told me he would support my decision, whatever that may be. And then there was verbal vomit as I told him I wanted to see where this thing with Temperance would go.

Gah! I nearly wanted to pull out my hair.

And now I find myself going with Tempe to my apartment to grab a few files and then back to work.

The government spooks step out of the unmarked and I wave them off. "Relax there big guys, we don't need you."

They huff, but nod, leaning casually against their car.

"So, we'll grab the files that you have and head back to the Jeffersonian?" Tempe asks.

"Yeah, sorry I had to drag you out with me." I let us into the building. "On the plus side the mechanic said my car will be ready before the end of today."

Lifting the door to the elevator, I motion Tempe in and pull it closed. She looks at me as I insert my key to take us to my penthouse loft and says, "Ang, you know it's no trouble. I mean sure we could both be at the lab trying to find this mystery master person, but then we need the files that you have here."

I think that was supposed to make me feel better, so I ask, "Was that supposed to make me feel better?"

"It didn't?" she quirks her head to the side confused.

I pat her shoulder and offer a tight lipped smile. "If you think so, then I think so sweetie."

She smiles confidently and then looks at me. "So, I understand you talked to Hodgins."

Internally I groan. I'm not ready for this conversation. "Yeah," I offer.

"Did he agree?" she turns to me and runs a hand up my arm.

"Yes, but…" I take her hand and give it a squeeze. I reach over and hit the stop button on the lift. "Tempe, this really isn't where I wanted to have this talk, but I guess it's easier or whatever." My other hand reaches out and grabs her free hand and I link our fingers together. "As much as I'm all for casual sex, because sometimes you just need to, I can't do that with Jack, I can't ask him to do that with me and I can't do that with you."

Her brow furrows and I reach up and smooth the lines away as she says, "I'm afraid I don't understand."

"I'm not a party favor, Temperance. Neither are you." My thumb travels down her chiseled features and ghosts over her lips. "If you want me, Tempe, you need to know that I'm not going to go between you and Jack. I don't want to."

She gives a slow nod as her hand brushes past me and the elevator starts back up. Snaking her hand back to the small of my back, she presses us closer, our foreheads rest together and she whispers against my lips, "You'll have to excuse me if my technique's a bit off; I've never kissed a woman before."

I shake my head against hers and laugh out, "Shut up Temperance."

I close the distance between our lips and run my fingers over the back of her neck to grip the hair at its base. Fire ignites in the pit of my stomach and travels south to pool between my thighs. She whimpers into my mouth and I allow her tongue entrance.

At the first slide of her muscle against mine, two things happen, the elevator stops as heat surrounds me and then the last thing I remember is a tsunamic size wave of fire washing over me before blacking out.

"Angela?" the voice is distant and muddled, but I hear it calling my name softly. It's soothing and melodic. A siren's song.

"Angela, Angela," it croons and I follow the sound.

The rest of my senses kick in and the first is the rest of my auditory ability. There's the tick and beep of what sounds like heart monitors, the percussion of the respirator and the rest is the blood rushing through my ears.

I groan and try to blink, but my eyes slam shut as the first beam of light hits. That was a fantastically bad idea.

Someone shuts the lights off and I hear my name being called again, "Angela?"

I manage to open them a bit, slits if they're even that, but it's something. I see Cam hovering above me and I'm more confused than ever.

"What?" I manage my voice raspy, my throat gravely.

"Ang, can you hear me?" Cam asks.

"Yeah," I moan. A cool, wet ice chip is pushed against my lips and greedily I suck it in.

"You, Doctor or not, out of the way, she's my patient," there's a woman's voice older and far more bossy than Cam. I hear an 'oof' and then a woman in a nurse's uniform is checking me over.

Shinning a penlight in my eye hurts so bad that my usual non-violent self wants to smack the thing out of her hand.

I hear some clucking and scribbling then the opening and closing of a door. Cam's cool hand presses against mine and I know she's back at my bedside. "Ang," she says, "I've made sure the lights are low. You can open them up."

I slit my eyes again and then blink as they adjust to the minute level of light in the room. "You're on some really good pain meds right now, but I know you'll be feeling this for a while," Cam says.

"Feel what?" I snap. God, I'm so confused.

"Ang, what do you remember about going to your apartment?" she asks slowly.

"Uh, Temperance and I talking, the elevator…" my mind flashes back to the talk and the kiss…

That was one hell of a kiss and before I have a chance to censor myself, I moan, "The kiss to end all kisses and then…" I trail off unable to fill in anything else.

She pats my arm in a 'there, there' gesture and says, "Look, from everything Booth's told me so far, someone rigged your apartment to blow when the elevator hit the top floor. You and Doctor Brennan were caught in the blast."

My eyes go wide and I nearly shout, "Where's Tempe?"

"Relax; she's in no worse shape than you. Actually she's a bit better; you appear to have shielded her from some of the blast. She's still in the emergency department. Jack's with her."

I want to smack myself on the forehead. I want to get out of this bed and run down there to stop them from talking, but that seems wholly improbable right now. Temperance would call it irrational and Jack would glare disapprovingly at my attempts.

"How long?" I ask.

"You've been out about three hours." She pulls a chair closer to the bed and takes a seat. "The way the detonation went off, it caused the elevator doors to implode and knock into you. You were closer to them, which saved Doctor Brennan from serious damage, but coincidently it was the weight of the door and its construction that saved both of you."

"Who?" I manage to ask as the deluge of new information rolls through my mind.

"We don't know." I look at her and she relents, "We think we know, but all I can say for sure is that Booth's been at the scene since he got the call, he pretty much ordered Jack and I to see to you two. I've never seen him…" I look at her as she doesn't complete the thought. She must think better of what she was going to say because all she finishes up with is, "He's pissed."

I wince and laugh. "He's pissed?" I snort and wince, damn it.

"Easy there Ang. You have bruised ribs," Cam warns in a soft voice.

"Ah, that explains that bit of pain." I look to the door and watch as Zack shuffles in. His hands are still bandaged, but he's been upgraded to mitts instead of having them completely wrapped up.

"It was the Master's Master," he whispers to me.

I nod. I figured as much. Bastard.

Fucking Bastard.

He blew up my home.

My wonderful apartment. With all of my art supplies!

My clothes, my music, my toys and paintings. That loss settles on top of my chest and tears leak from the corners of my eyes.

From down the hall I hear two people bickering. As the voices get closer, I differentiate them as being Tempe and Jack. Well this should be interesting.

"Jack, I'm not an invalid," I hear Tempe snap. "I can walk by myself."

"Doctor Brennan, you and my girl - my ex, were just in an explosion." Jack's voice elevates as he finishes, "So if I want to help, I'm going to damn well do so!"

The three of us in the room, witness the small exchange through the half open door. Temperance and Jack square off. Honestly, Tempe's a little more intimidating and while I trust her to take down most, I know what lies beneath the surface of Jack's clothes. He's not a limp, geeky noodle under the blue of his smock. He's ripped and he can use his body well.

My mind drifts as it thinks about a fight between Jack and Tempe and of course, on these drugs, my mind takes it to the uniquely naughty first co-ed mud fight. Now that would be interesting.

"Jack," Tempe's sweet voice brings me out of my self induced bout of age regression that took me to over half my age and a switch in gender to be a fourteen year old boy. I lick my lips and listen in. "I know. Okay. But I'm fine. I'm more worried about Angela. She's right there and I for one intend on checking to make sure she's awake now."

We see Jack nod and step back allowing her to be the first to enter. Her face cracks into a half smile as she sees me and I offer her my own smile in return. There's a bandage on the left side of her head and her right hand is wrapped. I recognize it as the one that was holding the small of my back. The one that had settled on my hips and started to drift a little lower as our first kiss deepened.

For some reason, I notice Jack out of the corner of my eye, his shoulders are slumped and I offer him a small wave. He tips his chin to me and then calls out, "Cam, Zack, let's give these two a minute." We both watch as he ushers them out of the room for us and then closes the door.

Trying to cut some of the tension, I joke, "For the record, your technique is fine, more than it would seem. I've been unconscious for a few hours."

Her face cracks a little and she smirks. "Well, I knew I was a good kisser, I just didn't know I was that good," she says a little smugly, a little playfully and finally some of the tension eases between us as we laugh off nearly getting blown up.

I watch her go serious for a moment as she asks, "That's not supposed to happen every time we kiss right?"

I smile a little more and say, "No, that's not. Although, what I was feeling right before I blacked out was all good."

I'm surprised when her good hand reaches for mine and laces our fingers together. She leans over the bed and touches her forehead to mine. Her eyes are open and clear, staring at me and I can't help but lean in and brush my lips across her own.

The same heat reignites, but she stops us both before we take it any further. Pulling back, I see the tears in her eyes and the fear etched in her features. "When I woke up, you wouldn't come to and I was so scared Ang."

"I'm okay," I whisper.

"I know," she says before reengaging our second kiss.

"I swept the apartment twice," Booth says hopping out of the S.U.V. "So, Bones your place is safe. There are agents outside, in the lobby and then right outside your door."

I watch as he struggles with a bag in the back while Tempe hovers a little and helps me out of the car. I look up at her and roll my eyes. "I can walk you know."

"I'm well aware, but I didn't have a steel door slam into me. I had an Angela slam into me and knock me into a wall." She grins at me and taps her head, "The laceration on my left frontal lobe is evidence. It also tells me, I'm going to be okay." Her and reaches out and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. "Your concussion is a little different." Sighing, she relents, "We're worried. Let us."

I send her a glare and stand fine on my own, making a show of it. I'd do a damn pirouette if it would get her or Booth to stop treating me like a doll.

"Now, Ang, Hodgins brought me a bag of your clothes, so at least you have something to wear. It's in this bag here," he holds up a duffle bag with the F.B.I. logo stitched on the front. He stops half way into Tempe's building and looks between the two of us. "Are you two sure this is a good idea?"

"Booth," Tempe's voice is measured as she chooses her words carefully, "We'll be fine. You said yourself that you swept my apartment. Twice." She offers him a reassuring smile and a small punch to the arm. "But thanks for being worried partner." His face scrunches as she lands her punch and immediately she asks, "Too hard?"

"No, Bones. It was good." He smiles and ushers us in front of him. I catch a glimpse of him rotating the shoulder that she socked and the small look of pain on his face.

She turns to me and shrugs helplessly, asking, "That was the right thing to do, right?"

A crooked smile makes its way onto my face. "Remember not to punch him so hard. You have pronounced knuckles that I'm sure make it hurt more than it normally would." I pat her forearm before punching the 'Up' button on her elevator.

"Look," Booth says behind us, "Maybe you guys should just hunker down with Parker and Rebecca."

"Because that won't be uncomfortable," I snark.

"Hey!" Booth and Temperance say in unison.

I relent and say, "Booth, we'll be fine." I then turn a gaze to Tempe as the elevator doors open and we step inside. "What did you 'hey' me for?"

She harrumphs, but says, "I can interact with Rebecca just fine and Parker and I get along okay."

"Sweetie, I'm sure you'd do fine, it's her that has the problem." I smile at her and hear Booth harrumph behind me. I giggle and step off the elevator when the doors open.

So far so good. No explosions.

"She would be fine," he clarifies and Tempe opens her apartment door.

I turn to him as we get inside and he sets the bags down a look of disbelief crossing over my face. "Wasn't it you that told me she was jealous of all of us. That not only did she not like your hours, but the fact that you worked closely with Temperance and an ex of yours." I fold my arms across my chest and lift an eyebrow.

His lips purse and he scowls at me. "Ang," he whines a little.

"Why would she be jealous?" Temperance asks from her kitchen. "And would anyone like something to drink?"

"I'm good," I state.

"Water," Booth answers and then follows, "She wasn't…" he stops, scowls at me and restates, "She did have some problems with me working with Cam, but Bones come on, she's like one of the guys."

I snort and say under my breath, "Yeah one of the guys with breasts and beautiful blue eyes." Booth must have heard that because he shoots me a look.

"Well," Tempe says coming into her living room with two bottles of water, "That's completely irrational." She hands him his bottle and fishes a vial of pills from her pants pocket. She hands the pills and the other bottle of water off to me, giving me an expectant look. I scowl at her but she gives that 'pinched mouth furrowed brow' look, so I cave.

"That's not irrational," Booth defends. "I'm not sure I would feel great about her working with an ex."

Temperance just shrugs and says, "It's irrational because if she had known you at all, she'd know that you don't cheat on people, between your devout Catholicism and your personal ethics, it's one of the last things that you would probably do."

"Oh," he says tugging at the lapels of his jacket and sitting down. "Thanks Bones." He glances down at his watch and scrambles up. "I'm gonna be late. Are you sure you two will be okay?"

"I'm very capable of defending the apartment and Angela," Tempe says standing with Booth. I follow them to the door.

"Hey," I say from behind my friends, "I'm not a damsel in distress."

Their heads whip around to look at me and then they look to each other and shrug. Booth casts one last look between the two of us. "So what are you ladies going to do tonight? Slumber party? Stuff your faces and talk about actors, see who's the most dreamy? Don't eat too much, girls"

There's a collective eye roll between Temperance and me and as she pushes him out the door, I smirk and say just loud enough for him to hear, "Oh, I can't make any guarantees about that. I plan on eating my fill."

He looks back at me as the door starts to close and I offer a little wave and a smile.

Temperance looks back at me and cocks her head in confusion, "What are you going to or not going to get your fill of? I thought you wanted Mexican tonight?"

I offer her a sweet smile and nothing more as I pull her to me and give her a peck on the cheek before dancing away to go take my medication.

This whole shacking up with Tempe until we catch the last of the Gormogon Masters is going to be pretty interesting.


Chapter 7 – Prison Bound

The sun shines down on me and my bench partner and the wraparound sunglasses I'm sporting block the majority of the glare. For a Monday morning in early June, it's still pretty humid, but we'll deal. I'm not really sure how Booth is handling that suit he's wearing.

I look over and he grins at me. "So, you think we have a shot?" I ask, wringing my hands as they rest in my lap.

He attempts a shrug and says, "I don't know. Caroline thinks that between her and Zack's lawyer we can figure something out. Convince the judge that he was a victim."

I nod and we continue to wait on the rest of our group, Tempe, Cam, Jack, Sweets and Caroline are all supposed to be transported together from the lab and should be here soon. Booth and I spent the morning going through the remains of my apartment.

There wasn't a lot left...a charred bed frame, melted plastic and a soggy half burnt couch cushion. I've started talking with the insurance company, but I'm not even sure if an explosion is even covered. I mean who builds that type of stuff into an insurance policy to begin with?

I sigh and shake my head. I really don't need to think about this right now. Booth provides a distraction by nudging my shoulder and asking, "So how was the weekend at Bones'?" He wiggles his eyebrows up and down and he thinks he's joking, but…

He really has no idea how x-rated things got, even with her hand wrapped and my concussion. I cross my legs and suppress the groan, I'd give pretty much anything to relive this past weekend. Instead of giving him a heart attack I smile and say, "We stayed in mostly. Talked and stuff."

"Yeah, that's what one of the agents said." He smirks at me and the urge to tell him is almost over powering, but…

Tempe said that if anyone but Jack and Sweets want to know they can ask. I think her exact words were, "I don't go inquiring as to who they are sexually active with, why do they need to know about us?"

And I admit she has a point. That and I really think she wants to talk to Booth on her own. I know I'm a little worried about his reaction so I know she is…even if she won't admit it.

"Ang," Booth's voice interrupts my thoughts and I see him stand.

I look up and Tempe is leading the pack, Caroline's on her heels, Jack and Cam are shoulder to shoulder and Sweets is lagging behind. I rise and stand next to Booth waiting on the rest of my friends to reach us. Tempe is all smiles and I see Booth give her a funny look but she ignores him as I reach my hand out, waiting on her to take it. As our fingers lace together, I say, "Everyone ready to go spring our Zack?"

Nods and murmurs of assent are given all around as we climb the small set of steps that lead us into the building. By the time we make it through security, court is ready to start and I watch amused as Caroline bustles through the small wooden gate to the right side table.

As soon as we get a chance to sit the bailiff comes in with Zack in front of him in shackles. I tense and Tempe's grip tightens around my hand. I thought Caroline was going to talk to them about that. Sighing, I feel Tempe's thumb caress my knuckles before we stand and one of the guard people announce the judge. Zack quickly looks back at us and waves as much as the shackles will allow. I know all of us wave back as the judge orders us to be seated.

"Counselor," the judge, an aging man with bushy gray eyebrows a permanently furrowed brow and pinched mouth, directs his attention to Caroline, "I've looked over the paper work you have filed and I must say this isn't something I would have expected." He 'tut-tuts' a second and then looks expectantly at the A.U.S.A.

"Your honor," she starts out, "It's an unusual set of circumstances. In light of some of the new evidence we're dropping all charges and requesting that Doctor Addy be released into the custody of Special Agent Seeley Booth until we can find the true party responsible."

The judge's eyebrows raise and he looks at the defense table, Zack stands alone in a suit with his hands gloved. I see his Adams apple bob as the judge looks him over. "Boy, the confession you signed, places a finger of guilt on the murder of a respected member of the community," the judge clucks. "You have confessed to conspiracy to commit murder, aiding and abetting and evidence tampering. Those are a laundry list of charges. Why the sudden change?"

"Your honor," Caroline cuts in, "Doctor Addy has waived the right to counsel and if I may, I'd like to clarify some of the finer points of the case?" The judge's right eyebrow is lost in his graying hair and he nods. "The new evidence suggests that Doctor Addy was not a willing participant, but a victim of extortion and coercion."

I feel Tempe stand and she starts to speak before I have a chance to stop her. "Judge Reynolds, I'm Doctor Temperance Brennan of the Jeffersonian, Doctor Addy's boss."

"I know who you are Doctor Brennan, what I don't know is why you are interrupting my courtroom?"

Tempe falters for only a brief second before squaring her shoulders and marching to the gate, busting through and standing at the podium between the defense and prosecution tables. "Your honor, I'd like the opportunity to speak on Doctor Addy's behalf."

The judge passes a look between Zack and Caroline and sighs. "If you feel you must, but this better be relevant Doctor Brennan or there will be consequences."

My Tempe nods and starts, "Your honor, in light of the new evidence supplied by some of the Jeffersonian staff; we've uncovered significant circumstantial evidence to point to another party who is actually responsible for Doctor Addy's actions." She pauses; I know she's trying to choose her words carefully before she starts in again, "While his actions may appear to be criminal, his reasons for acting as such were nothing short of heroic. My partner, Seeley Booth, and I will be solely responsible for Doctor Addy until we find and arrest the individual responsible."

"And what exactly were his reasons?" the judge asks.

Caroline is set to respond, but Temperance beats her to it, "He was forced to commit those acts, your honor. With no regard for his own safety, he did what he thought was the right thing."

"Doctor, the 'right' thing usually doesn't involve a written confession of a felony." the judge snaps. He looks at her a moment then at Zack and asks with a hint of sarcasm, "What in your opinion would be the 'right' thing?"

Caroline cringes before Tempe speaks.

"By protecting the people that he loves," Tempe nearly rages back. "The real killer threatened his own life and Zack told them no. When the killers threatened me, my staff and his family that was when he helped them. He was protecting us." I can't see her face, but I see the white knuckle grip she has on the podium. "Your honor to keep Zack in custody would be a mistake. He's a good man who has invaluable expertise that would assist us in catching the real criminals."

The judge looks Tempe over and I hold my breath. His gaze then turns to Zack and back down at the stack of motions in his hand. His glasses slip down his nose as he reads over a few documents then he speaks, "Son, I've reviewed these files extensively and while I may not fully agree with what the good doctor and prosecutor say, I will say this," he clears his throat and continues, "For a mousy lookin' lab geek, you got the heart of a lion. You also seem to have quite a few co-workers that think the world of you." He grins a little grin and then says, "In accordance with Counselor Julian's recommendations I'm granting the motions to drop all charges and release you into the custody of Doctor Brennan and Special Agent Booth."

He raps his gavel and Tempe's shoulders slump before she perks up and steps over to Zack, wrapping him in her arms. I'm up just as soon as everyone else, rushing over to the gate and getting lost in a big group hug.

All of us, except Zack who won't be released from the hospital just yet, make it back to the lab after hitting up Wong Foo's for lunch. Before going back to work, I follow Tempe to her office and shut the door.

"Happy?" I ask lacing my fingers behind her neck to draw her in for a quick kiss. She nods against my lips and then breaks away.

"I am. We also need to get back out there and finish this up." She turns to me, a fire in her clear blue eyes. "I want to find whoever's responsible. I don't want any of us scared anymore."

I nod and offer her my hand as we head out the door. Squeezing her hand before releasing my hold, I climb the steps of the lab platform and find Jack, Booth and Cam sitting around a computer. They all turn to Tempe and me while Cam says, "Looks like you guys aren't the only ones who are getting threats."

"What?" Tempe and I ask at the same time.

Cam turns back to the computer screen and hits a few buttons. Her email pops up and an email with an undisclosed sender appears. I quickly scan it long enough to get the gist…stop the investigation or die sort of thing.

You know I'm getting pretty fed up with this whole thing. Not to mention that I'm still really pissed that they blew my apartment up. I mean it would be one thing if it was just my apartment, but they tried to kill me, which freaks me out.

They also tried to kill Tempe, which just pisses me off. I mean I get worried when she and Booth go out and find the killers, but I'm able to at least stave off some of the fear I have for her. I know she's capable and that she carries a gun, much to Booth's annoyance and my glee. I just…

It's not right. It's one of these things that I'll never understand. Like hate and bigotry, there's no sense to be made of any of it and I know that maybe this stuff shouldn't make sense, but…

I've been around scientists too long. My old artsy friends would tell me to quit and go find myself. Maybe a year ago, I would have. Not now, not when the people that I love put their lives on the line to do the right thing. To walk away from that would be the death of me.

I tune back into the conversation and hear Cam say, "I need to start petitioning the higher ups to have them reinstate Zack."

"We can do that?" Tempe asks.

"I'm trying. I need to find the right loop hole. Considering he's been cleared, I may only have to offer them my first born to get him back on the payroll." Her smile's thin as she pinches the bridge of her nose and shakes her head, saying, "I still want to kick him when we get him back."

"If it will help," Booth says, "I'll make an appeal."

"Me too," Tempe chimes in.

"If they need anything from me," Jack states.

"Do I even need to offer anything?" I smile at Cam and rub her upper arm.

She grins at me and shakes her head.

"One thing I can do," I offer, "is see if I can finish that trace on the bugs that were planted in Zack's hospital room. With this new email, maybe I can tie something together."

Hope fills the faces of my coworkers and Cam say, "Great. You get started on that; I'm gonna go start the paperwork Zack's caused me."

"Bones, we need to head out," Booth motions for the door and Tempe nods.

I offer both of them a small smile and say, "Be careful." My words fall on deaf ears as both my lover and her partner disappear out the sliding doors.

I look over at Jack and he smiles at me. "So…" he says, "How's things going?"

"I," I stop, I mean what can I say. "Alright," is the lame reply I give.

He steps up to me and wraps his arms around me. I allow him to draw me in as I bury my nose in his neck. "As long as you're happy, Ang," he whispers. I pull back and he smiles at me, his deep blue eyes twinkle and shine with unshed tears. "You know if it had been anyone else, this would be really ugly?"

I nod and he thumbs away the tear that leaked from the corner of my eye. "Jack, I…"

"Just be happy Angela Montenegro and I'll be fine."

I give him a soggy kiss on the cheek and whisper, "I love you."

"I know," he says. "So let's go catch us a bad guy." He throws his arm over my shoulder and we head to my office to see if we can find the bastard responsible for our current misery and my lack of a home.

My hand snatches the receiver off my desk phone and I dial Tempe's cell phone. Impatiently I switch the phone to my other ear as it rings. I bite my thumb nail and watch as Jack begins putting the rest of the information together. The unfortunate part is that we had no particulates of the physical kind to work with, but man, the two of us working on the digital kind together yielded some results.

Come on, Tempe, pick up. My foot taps as the phone gets finally picked up and Booth and Tempe's voices fill my ear.

"Come on, Bones," I hear Booth say, "you can tell me." His tone is light and teasing.

"Booth, look it's really early for me to be discussing anything and besides," she reasons, "you find my frank talk of sex disturbing."

There's silence as I wait for Booth's reply. Finally, it comes, "I don't get disturbed, Bones. I just think that you breaking it down to its most basic parts takes the romance out of it."

I close my eyes and visualize them in the car together as I eavesdrop.

"Bones, please, I just want to make sure the guy you're seeing is worth it," Booth fills the silence.

"You mean you want to do a background check and then run him in?" Tempe teases, half serious with the question. We all know it's exactly what he would do.

"Well…" Booth stutters, "I – I wouldn't run him in just yet, but yeah I'd want to check him out. Make sure he's good enough for my partner." His voice softens as he admits, "A lot's happened Bones, I just want to make sure your safe."

"Booth," she stops and I can almost hear the thoughts click into place before she starts speaking again. "I think you would find them suitable. I won't say that I'm not worried though."

"Why?" he asks.

"Your religion can sometimes get in the way of your thinking," she says and I know she's smirking.

"Hey, I thought we put a time out thingy on our talk of religion," he warns.

"We did," Tempe answers, "but I also feel that maybe your religion would factor into this."

I hear him grunt and Tempe laugh quietly.

"So I withhold judgment and you tell me who it is that's put that silly grin on your face all day?" he asks.

"One: those terms are acceptable with one caveat, when you find out you treat them the same as you always have and two: I have not had a silly grin on my face all day," Tempe says, her voice just a tad petulant.

"You so have!" Booth exclaims. "I mean, it looks good on you, Bones. If you're happy then that's good," his voice is earnest and sincere.

"Whatever, do you want to find out or not?" she asks, ignoring her acceptance of her 'silly' grin.

"Lay it on me partner."

"Angela," she states simply.

"Huh? Angela what? Angela introduced you two? She set you up on a blind date?" he asks confused. "What does Angela have to do with anything?"

"Booth, I'm seeing Angela."

I hear tires screech and Tempe yelp and I yell, "Tempe?! Booth?!"

No one answers, but I hear my lover snip, "Can you try not to kill us?"

"I – uh – well – I, uh…didn't mean to," Booth offers lamely.

"Booth?" Tempe asks, concern lacing her voice.

"I, nope. I'm good," he answers quickly, too quickly. "I just, wow, but Jack?"

"They broke up," Tempe answers.

"Huh, wow – so, when?" Booth asks.

"Officially right before we were nearly blown up. We consummated the relationship shortly after you dropped us off at my apartment on Thursday afternoon" I can almost see the smile on Tempe's face. Thinking back to that evening, I know that my own smile is firmly in place.

"What? You mean right after we sprung Angela from the hospital?" he squeaks.


"I, uh…you're gay? But there have been guys right? I mean I know there have."

She snorts and says, "Yes, historically I've identified myself as heterosexual, but…" she trails off before picking up again, this time her voice is softer, more introspective, "It feels different. And without the use of psychology, I think it is. Angela and I have a good strong foundation for the potential of a relationship."

"But you just can't go and switch sides like that, Bones!"

"I'm sorry, I can't what?" she asks her tone defensive.

He must have thought better of it, because he stops and back peddles, "That…came out wrong. It's just…" I don't hear him finish the thought and I can only imagine what is going on in the cab of his SUV, but what he says next floors me, "If you're happy then we're good. I like Ang. She's a good person."

"Thank you," Tempe says evenly.

"I mean it Bones," Booth tries again, this time softer more genuine, "If you two are happy together, then who am I to say it shouldn't be."

Emotion strangles her voice as I hear her say again, "Thank you."

"We're partners, Bones. We have each other's back." He jokes and says, "If she hurts you, I reserve the right to charge her with a crime." He falls silent for a moment and then says, "For that matter, Angela's a special girl, you hurt her and I'm reserving the right to charge you too."

She laughs and I hear, "Angela?"

Finally, she speaks to me, I smile at the exchange she allowed me to be privy to and say, "Thank you, sweetie."

"You're welcome," is her reply.

"Now, I've got good news. Do you two want it now or do you want to come back to the lab?" I say, unwinding the phone cord that I had wrapped around my finger.

"What is it?" she asks.

"Jack and I have found our killer."

"We'll be there in ten minutes," she says and disconnects the phone.


Chapter 8 – Don't Take Me for Granted

"When did this get so nerve wracking? They've done this lots of times before, why do I feel like I'm going to be sick?" I ask no one in particular as I pace the length of my office. I'm so tired of walking back forth and I think I may have worn a trail in my carpet. I throw myself into one of my chairs and glare at the smirk riding Jack's face and the upturned eyebrow Sweets is giving me.

"Ang," Jack's voice is soft and teasing.

I stick my tongue out at him and fold my arms across my chest as my stomach does another somersault. Jack and I did it, we found what we hope is the last person involved with Gormogon. Three hours ago we managed to trace the signal on the bugs and tie it in to a masked IP address on the email. A few minor violation of privacy law later and we had a name and an address, Chester Baxendale of Arlington Virginia. Such a ridiculously unoriginal name for someone who's caused so much heartache.

Of course…

I really shouldn't be surprised. Sweets told us to look for someone unobtrusive who would blend in. And he does! He's a fricking elementary school teacher. Someone that…I mean he's teaching children for God's sake.

"So Jack," Sweets asks softly, "How are you feeling?"

I roll my eyes behind my eyelids and then crack them open, actually interested in how Jack's going to answer that particular question. "Uh, okay…," he says cautiously.

I interrupt whatever Sweets was going to say next by asking, "Do you think we should call Cam and see how she and Zack are doing at the hospital?"

Jack nods and I pull out my cell phone. Hitting the four button, I wait as my boss's cell phone rings and rings and goes to voicemail. I roll my eyes at my stupidity. We have to turn them off when we get to Zack's floor. I drop the phone back into my lap and watch it, willing it ring with Booth's or Tempe's number on the display.

"Angela, maybe you want to talk about why you're so anxious?" Sweets smiles at me as he asks the question.

Coming to my defense, Jack butts in, "It couldn't be because our friends are out there risking their lives because of another person's want and need for power and control? Maybe because if this doesn't pan out we're back to square one and we're all still in danger?"

"While those are great observations," the psychologist answers, "What I mean is what Agent Booth and Doctor Brennan are doing now is no different than what they've done before and yet Angela you've never been this anxious those other times."

"Ah, so what you're really asking is now that I'm sleeping with Tempe if that's going to affect our working relationship?" I ask.

"Sort of," he says looking between the two of us. "Listen, I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm just trying to redirect the nervousness that we are all feeling. I think it would be healthy for all of us to have something else to focus on until we hear back from Agent Booth and Doctor Brennan." Unsure of himself now, his eyes skirt between the two of us. "Do you want to talk about it?"

I look at Jack and shrug; he shrugs back. I know what he's thinking and I'm sure he can read my mind too. Maybe this will help. If I have to sit and wait anymore without doing something, I may scream.

"Why not," Jack answers for the two of us.

Sweets face lights up and he sits up on the couch, straightening his back. "Good. Jack, I think I would like to start with you. Angela has already talked some, but how are you adjusting?"

Jack looks to me and my stomach rolls again. I should hear this. I tip my chin and he says, "Truthfully, there are good moments and bad moments. I miss you, Ang, but I meant what I said. I want you happy. That's the most important thing to me and if you can be happy with Doctor Brennan then I'll accept it." He smiles at me warm and soft, saying, "I don't have to like it right away, but I will admit that the idea of you two together is pretty smoking."

I grin back and shake my head, teasing him, "I'll talk to her about making a tape."

We both look at Sweets' mouth drop open and I laugh, finally. An honest to God, real laugh that breaks the strangle hold of anxiety.

Furthering the joke, Jack says, "Just let me know when I can join."

I falter for a second and then brush the idea off. Threesomes end poorly, I know this, I can't go down that road. I just smile at him instead and say, "I love you too Jack."

"You guys are just joking right? Because engaging in such behavior with a group of co-workers whose lives literally depend on each other doesn't seem like such a good idea." Sweets index finger vacillates between Jack and me.

"Engaging in what type of behavior?" Tempe asks from the doorway.

My head whips around and I look her over first. She still has on the bulletproof vest and her hair's back in a ponytail, there's a new cut above her right eye. I spring from my chair and have her in a hug before I say anything. Pulling back, I look at the cut a little more closely, it's really just a scratch, but I still finger it lightly and she doesn't even wince.

Without being prompted, she says, "He swung a lamp at me."

I laugh a little. "So then…?"

She gives me another squeeze before letting me go and walking to the center of my office. "We found him and he tried to run. I got smacked in the head with a lamp and Booth elbowed him in the side of the head. I rode back with a group of techs that brought in a ton of evidence; Booth took him to processing." She smiles at all of us and I finally, relax.

"it's over?" Jack asks.

She nods and says, "I believe so."

I yawn and stretch as Tempe carries on about a piece of bone we found in an evidence box that was brought in with yesterday's raid on Baxendale's house. While I may love the woman to pieces, she gets a little too excited about things that people just shouldn't get excited about. I smile warmly and nod letting her go on.

Her passion for the truth is still unrivaled. Her passion in general is. I guess I'll deal with it.

"Everyone," Cam calls from the bottom of the platform steps, "Can I have your attention."

I look around and realize that Jack, Booth and Sweets are with us looking through another box. Everyone directs their attention to Cam and waits.

"I'd like everyone to welcome back Doctor Zack Addy to the Jeffersonian Staff." She smiles and Zack walks through the sliding glass doors on to the Forensics floor. His hands are still gloved but he may be able to use them. We'll see.

We clap and wave and Cam makes a show of handing him his access and I.D. badge. He swipes it and bounds up the steps.

Jack's the first one to speak, "So, does this mean that we get to work together again and am I going to have to kick out the new tenant?"

"The doctors have released me on a part time basis to start back to work," Zack says smiling. "And yes, you will have to kick out the individual staying in my apartment."

Jack smiles wide and claps his friend on the shoulder. I, instead, wrap him in a hug and hold on tight. He whispers in my ear, "Thank you, Angela."

I let him go and hold him at arm's length, blinking back tears and looking him over. "You need a haircut."

He smiles at me and nods enthusiastically.

"Zack," Booth holds out his hand and then thinks better of it. Instead, the agent wraps an arm around Zack's shoulders and leads him further onto the platform. "It's good to have you back."

"Thanks, Agent Booth. It's good to be back." Zack says as Booth plants him right in front of Tempe.

They smile at each other and Temperance's chin dips just a little. "Doctor Addy, it's good to have you back." They stop and look at each other, knowing that's the most Tempe's going to acknowledge his return.

I know how she feels. I also know that this is a lot harder on her than most would think. She's more sensitive than people give her credit for.

I watch as Cam hands him a smock and a pair of gloves. He slips the latex gloves over the black cloth one's he already has on and Tempe hands him the bone that she's been inspecting. "Doctor Addy, if you can tell me what information can be gleaned from this?"

He holds it up and says, "I'll run some tests and let you know." With that he turns to head to his office while the rest of us follow.

He stops before entering and looks at all of us questioningly. "Is there more?"

There's a universal shake of our heads and he shrugs, turns back and walks into his office. We step through and watch his reaction to the welcome home sign I put together and the two trophy's sitting on his desk. One trophy is the smaller one Cam had made for him; the other is one that Tempe picked up last night before we went home. It's a bit bigger and etched on the silver cup is his name and below it is another line of script proudly declaring him "King of the Lab".

Cam allows a moment to bask in having everyone together again before she says, "Alright people, let's get back to work, this evidence isn't going to sort itself."

We all nod and shuffle out to leave Zack to go back to work. Tempe's hand ghosts over my upper arm and I wink at her before stepping on to the platform.

I juggle the three bags of groceries as Tempe unlocks her apartment and lets us in. Groaning, I set the bags down thankful that the day is finally over. Caroline picked up the rest of the evidence, Booth got a full confession out of Chester and Zack's back where he belongs.

On my mental scoreboard it reads, Home – 3, Killers – 0. The audience in my head cheers wildly and then Tempe's lips on my neck stop all thought. Her arms encircle my waist as she pulls me to her and I lean back against her form, laying my hands over hers.

I turn around and link my hands behind her neck, pressing our lips together. My tongue slides into her mouth and she moans as, I tease and caress her. I back us up until she's against the kitchen counter and my hands develop a mind of their own as they sneak under her shirt and up her sides. I bring them around to cup her breasts and tease her hardening nipples with the pads of my thumbs.

Her knees start to buckle and I assist in raising her on to the counter to rest between her legs. Finally we break apart and she rests her forehead against mine as we catch out breaths. "Ang," she says gently.

"Hmm?" is my articulate reply.

"Thank you."

I open my eyes and meet her gaze. "For?"

"Not giving up." She pecks me on the lips and as much as I want to carry her back to her bedroom or hell, have my way with her here, I get the feeling that she wants to talk.

I shrug and let her continue, "You saw what we didn't. We all owe you."

I laugh. "You really don't." I pull back and remove my hands.

"Well we at least owe you a couch." She smirks and I groan.

I'd momentarily forgotten that I was homeless.

"What," she starts, unsure, "are you going to do about that?"

"Look for a new place. It took me forever to find that one," I pout.

"We can put in a call to my realtor. I'm sure he'll help us look."

"Us?" I ask, raising my eyebrow.

"Well, I just assumed you would drag me around looking at new places." She plays with the ring on her thumb and says, "I was giving it some thought, Booth and I were talking and I do have two extra rooms. Of course one's an office, but there is a spare here. If you would…"

I place my finger over her lips and shake my head. "Sweetie, that's very generous, but I know you. I also know me. We're two people who need our own space. Especially for now." I look her over and see the uncertainty.

"There's a certain practicality to it all," she offers smiling.

I nod slowly. "Maybe, but we've only been together for less than a week and as much as I might enjoy the idea of having you around like that I'm really not ready for it. I don't think you are either."

She nods, conceding my point. "Then at least understand there's no rush right now. Stay for as long as you need to."

I lean in give her a small peck. "Thank you."

"I do suggest getting something similar. I liked your apartment. It suited you well."

I rest my head on her shoulder and pout a little more, "Yeah, it was pretty damn perfect."

She squeezes my shoulder and her cheek rests on the top of my head. "We'll find you a new one."

I sigh and straighten up. "So dinner?"

Her hand sneaks up my shirt to palm warm flesh. "Sex sounds like the better option to me."

Her wolfish grin is pretty much all it takes to send shocks down my spine and into my groin. I'm a pile of goo and she knows it.

She removes her hand and drops from the kitchen counter to sink to her knees. My jeans snap open and I look down at her, grinning idiotically.

Yeah, I'm toast.

The End

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